Game Day Express Service - Downtown South Bend to Notre Dame

Target Audience: The target audience for Transpo's Game Day Express route was residents and visitors to the community attending 2017 University of Notre Dame home football games.

Strategy Objective:The objective was to create a new express route between downtown and ND for home games. The strategy was to leverage existing relationships and develop new partnerships to fund the service to increase Saturday ridership. We partnered with the Aloft Hotel, Century Center Convention Center, DoubleTree, Downtown South Bend (DTSB), Fiddler's Hearth, Visit South Bend and U93 Radio. The partnerships fully funded the Game Day Express (GDE) Route along with additional shuttle service between Saint Mary's parking and the South Shore Train. All service was free and open to the public. The GDE runs 3 hours prior to kickoff and 2 hours after with 20 minute service. DTSB and Century Center offered free parking to promote downtown businesses before and after the game.

Situation Challenge: Like many agencies, Transpo has experienced a decline in ridership. We decided to take a creative look at ways to increase ridership cost effectively. At the same time, the University of Notre Dame was getting ready to reveal their $400 million stadium renovation for the 2017 football season. In addition, downtown South Bend has experienced a significant expansion of residential housing and hotel accommodations in recent years. As a result, we believed there was a need for additional transportation options to connect both residents and visitors to Notre Dame on game days.

Results Impact: The Game Day Express had a significant impact. The new partnerships raised public awareness and developed champions for transit not just on game days, but throughout the year. The hotels were interested in learning more to encourage guests to use transit during their stay. Through the first 6 of 7 home games, average daily Saturday ridership increased 41%. Ridership has increased each game and is expected to do so for the final game taking place after this submission. Transpo received overwhelmingly positive feedback and exceeded the target audience since many campus service workers now had a free ride to work on game days.

Why Submit: This entry was submitted because Transpo identified a need, saw an opportunity to increase ridership and creatively leveraged partnerships to fully fund the service. There was enhanced public awareness due to media, electronic billboard advertising, interior / exterior bus advertising and over $8,000 in radio advertising. Transpo was able to increase the average daily Saturday ridership by 41% for each home game at no additional cost.